Introduction: Social Democracy in the 21st Century
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OriginalversjonThorsen, D. E. (2021). Introduction: Social Democracy in the 21st Century. In N. Brandal, Ø. Bratberg, & D. E. Thorsen (Eds.), Social Democracy in the 21st Century (Vol. 35, pp. 1-14). Emerald Publishing Limited. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0195-631020210000035001
Since the end of the Cold War in 1989, Social Democrats around the world have been the victims of drastically changing fortunes. After 2015, these mixed fortunes took in several instances, in Greece, France and the Netherlands most prominently, the form of an outright collapse in terms of electoral support. At the same time, the world economy is increasingly dominated by an unfettered brand of international financial capitalism, leading to a progressively more ruthless exploitation of workers around the world. Both these trends entail that Social Democrats need to come up with new answers to the most pressing political issues of our time. In this introductory chapter, the first order of business is to provide the reader with an idea of what Social Democracy might signify in the twenty-first century, focussing on the basic ideas of human rights, democracy and personal freedom. The chapter then moves on to describe and discuss some of the problems facing the world today. Global warming and resource depletion, poverty and economic inequality, as well as sudden shocks to the political system such as the coronavirus pandemic of 2020 will likely continue to set a large part of the political agenda for the remainder of this century. If Social Democrats continue to be part of a truly world-transforming labour movement, they must address and engage with these issues, and with the yet unknown political problems of tomorrow.